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Golf in Godzone: Some thoughts on Kauri Cliffs

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Stan Sutherland
Stan Sutherland
Kauri Cliffs

Saturday morning, surfing for golf news prior to heading for the course.
Came across this headline by Connell Barrett
“Kauri Cliffs, New Zealand. I came. I saw. I killed possums”

Saturday afternoon, around a table at the 19th, “What d’ya think of Kauri Cliffs?”
Since my club is blessed with a good ethnic mix of members, what follows could be described as international opinion.

The man from Hong Kong said, “Make sure good weather.”
Agreed it’s a long drive up there from Auckland and it’s a real bummer if it’s bad weather. Almost…in fact unplayable if there’s also a high wind.

I digress for a moment. Did you know in the Hong Kong/Chinese golfing culture, a person who’s had a recent hole-in-one has to shout his mates dinner-Chinese food I guess.
And not just the lads he was playing with at the time.

Geez I found it tough enough to buy three wee drams.
Not true-It was so early in the morning, even by the time we got in, the bar was still closed-Yeah!

The good news for the Chinese dinner-provider is that the invited guests must bring him/her a present.

Then there was the lad from Liverpool. Not known for being complimentary about anything, including even when I occasionally play well; “Great course!”

One of the Kiwis in our midst, the management man said, “Very classy, over-priced.”
Sounds more like a Scotsman than a Kiwi. But nonetheless price is an issue for people who are paid in Kiwi dollars.

All around the table agreed it was a great course and a superb test of golf, which left me thinking, “Damn shame it’s so costly for young Kiwi golfers who need to play a great test of golf for a reality check.”

In my youth, in Scotland, regularly playing a non-championship course, I thought I was kinda hot. Fortunately, when I was brave enough to give myself a real test. I could play in competitions at great courses for a reasonable price. The Craw’s Nest Tassie at Carnoustie; The Silver Tassie at Gleneagles and Royal Dornoch’s-Carnegie Shield.

No such luck for your average Kiwi kid who needs a wake up call-A reality check.
The real tests in NZ, Kauri Cliffs, Cape Kidnappers and Kinloch don’t have, as far as I am aware, a reasonably priced annual event where the young kids can get a real challenge to test their skill level.

The closest that comes to mind is the West Coast Open at Muriwai. And having been there done that a couple of times. I am no longer surprised at the (high) scores by the kids who think they’ve done good to get down to scratch or less.

Here’s the link to Connell’s thoughts on Kauri Cliffs.

And how about his comment? “It's like Pebble Beach, but better: It's so remote you likely won't run into Kenny G or George Lopez.”

Better than Pebble Beach-Wow! That may just persuade a few Kiwis to have a wee word with their, hopefully friendly, bank manager.



This post was originally published on the 28th of September 2009. It is being republished as part of a 'best of' series, running over the next two weeks.

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